Family Business

Finding creative ways to join the family enterprise


3 min




Listen to a Young Successor describing the process of joining the family enterprise. Pankaj Dinodia, 3rd Generation of a Family Business, MBA Student at Harvard Business School. When integrating the rising generation, it is important to consider if the family business fits their strengths. Many family businesses benefit from encouraging the rising generation to develop new business ventures that are supported by the initial family business.


Pankaj Dinodia




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As we have learned over the years, third generation family businesses are most often destroyed, and so that big concern on my mind. And I think the current partnership is held between my dad, my grandfather unfortunately passed away last year, so the firm, the parent firm is controlled by father, my uncle, and sister, and because I am not a CPA by training, I can never have equity in that firm. I think a lot of issues that I faced when I first joined the business was every time I had an idea it would get superseded by my sister, or my uncle, or my father, and I would often get frustrated and hold my voice down rather than you know, try and bring up something in a client meeting or in a public forum. And even when I tried to discuss it in a private setting, I would ... View More see that they were somewhat encouraging of those ideas but, ultimately what my father said was what ultimately happened. I had this discussion with him a long time ago when I was first coming back to Harvard Business School, and I said, “Do you think it actually makes sense for me to come back and work in the current umbrella of the family business or maybe set up something separately just outside that I can leverage the family’s brand equity maybe a similar name, but set up something on my own, have the responsibility. Obviously, I need some start up capital and some support in the beginning, but you know,” he said, “Fine you eat what you kill, and I am happy to support you, and if that is the ground you want to take, and, you know, we are happy to support you as a family. And if things work out – fantastic, if they do not you always have us as a back up.” What I have decided to do is to go and set up a separate investment bank when I move to India and start up a pure planned money advisory to the current clients of the firm, so the people…we have about five hundred clients globally that we serve today, and that is a very strong platform to start off with, and God willing if things take off well then maybe try and raise a private equity and venture capital fund in three to five years and not only advise on these but actually co-invest on some of the deals that we advise on. So I think I would personally like to hold all of the equity maybe some, you know, pro bono equity to the current parent company and have my dad sit as a chairman for the first few years, just so that they do not see a twenty-eight year old kid who is sort of running the show. You know, these are clients that we have served for fifty, sixty years, they need to see some gray hair in meetings, so maybe my dad will be the chairman of the firm for the first couple of years and if it takes off, then I will have control.